Many Nigerians were left bewildered last week when Nigeria’s current Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola declared that on infrastructure, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari which he is part of has accomplished what the US government is ‘struggling with’. This left many people wondering whether the statement was coming from a place of delusion, sycophancy or plain mischief.
The last time Fashola made serious headlines was sometime in 2020 when he was captured on video playing the role of a detective in Lagos. Following the tragic Lekki shootings which was ordered by the heartless gang which Fashola serves in, the former Governor of Lagos State went on to urinate on the sensibilities of Nigerians by trying to play a fast one by discovering a hidden camera. Many Nigerians were amused when Fashola was captured on a video deftly picking up a large piece of evidence (a camera) that had been ‘invisible’ to the human eye—any human eye—until his, four days after the shootings.
Ever since then, Fashola simply resorted to maintaining a low profile, which at least, has saved him quite a lot of embarrassment in the media. However, it was rather shocking to many people when he decided to break his silence just last week, this time, he came out to vomit plain garbage. While speaking at an event organised by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Fashola, declared that on infrastructure, the Buhari Government has accomplished what the US government has not been able to do.
This statement was not only a lie, it was a grave insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians who have been subjected to hellish conditions over the last 7 years of Buhari’s maladministration. From poor economic conditions to a dreadful security condition down to stinking corruption; Nigerians have seen it all, many of them now look forward to even surviving the regime which is presently in its penultimate year.
Attempting to examine the ‘facts’ on which Fashola built those claims is even more depressing. According to Fashola, Buhari’s government has been able to construct about 941 kilometers in seven years, of course, just as it is synonymous with the government of propaganda in which he serves, Fashola failed to back up this claim with any shred of evidence. But even if his assertion was true, he was boldly trying to tell Nigerians that the Buhari government has achieved a paltry construction rate of just over 100 kilometers per year for a country of over 200 million people in 36 States. In today’s Nigeria, some thieving Governors have even managed better numbers than those numbers that Fashola came out shamelessly to boast about.
Many people were even more dumbfounded by his choice of country for comparison. If not for plain stupidity, why would any sane human being compare Nigeria with the ‘almighty’ US? Under Buhari, Nigeria has so terribly retrogressed that even comparing her to some African countries at the moment would be completely out of place.
Where is the infrastructure Fashola is even talking about? The truth is that, in the last seven years of Buhari’s maladministration, there is no single project which was initiated, commenced and completed by his government. This is a fact that every Nigerian can go on to investigate. The state of the country’s infrastructure has not only worsened but it is now decaying. Despite claims of recoveries of corrupt funds and the repatriation of stolen monies from abroad, the Buhari government has borrowed over $60 billion more than all past Nigerian leaders combined with nothing substantial to show for it. Where is the infrastructure to justify the humongous amounts that have accrued to the Buhari government in almost eight years?
A government that came into power on the wings of anti-corruption fight has pushed Nigeria deeper into corruption. Nigeria was recently ranked 154 out of 180 in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index from 138 in 2014. In fact, according to the ranking, Nigeria is the second most corrupt country in West Africa after Guinea. What this simply means is that, instead of fighting corruption, Nigeria has now embraced it.
Life in Nigeria has now become hellish under Buhari. Many Nigerians are now at their lowest points due to his mis-governance. Life expectancy has dipped, poverty and inflation are now headed for the skies, and Fashola still has the temerity to insult grieving Nigerians with stupid comparisons?
Granted that the US are still trying to pass their infrastructure bill, but how on earth can a sane human being compare both countries looking at the dwarfing infrastructural gap?
Before his ‘Gang of Looters’ hoodwinked Nigerians into making perhaps the most horrible mistakes of their lives by electing Buhari into Aso Rock, Fashola was famous for declaring on many occasions that a serious government would fix Nigeria’s electricity troubles within six months. This was possibly why President Buhari himself regardless of his ineptitude, opted to move Fashola into the newly created ministry of Power, Works and Housing in 2015, however it was only a matter of time for Buhari to notice that Fashola was all ‘barks’ and no ‘bites’ and had to pull the ministry of power from his portfolio. In fact, it is safe to say that if Buhari were to get a third term, Fashola might just be one of those ministers who would not return to the cabinet.
The 2023 election is just barely a year away and perhaps, Fashola has drifted further deep into sycophancy for post-2023 survival. As a modern means of survival in Nigeria, the art of sycophancy has gone on to become widespread in modern times. Virtually everyone serving in Buhari’s government at the moment has become dexterous sycophants just to position themselves for consideration. Fashola should be reminded that as dementia ravaged as Buhari is, sycophancy would not put him in his good books. He should simply bow his heads in shame and wait for posterity to visit him with the repercussions of the vile acts the Buhari’s government which he is a critical member of unleashed on helpless Nigerians. It is only going to be a matter of time.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK